Experimenting with sensors on the #LoRa board for #IoT for #Hackapost

Some more fun today with the LoRa board.

There is a set of experiments to do in order to get acquainted with how the whole thing works.

One of the experiments is named "Environmental Sensing".

So, I picked the right sensors, connected them to the board, loaded the sketch from the demos, added my keys to the keys.h file and I was good to go.

But that was a bit too hairy in terms of cables going all around, so, I decided to tidy all that up.

Enter the glue gun. Putting a tad of hot glue behind the components, and using a L metal shape I had laying around for the antenna, I set all the items on a wooden MDF rectangle. It now looks like this:

Sensing Experiment with AllThingsTalk's LoRa board

Sensing Experiment with AllThingsTalk's LoRa board

The readings do work.

Reading environmental data

Reading environmental data

They can't be transmitted still (no coverage here). Tomorrow I am travelling to an area where coverage is great, so this will maybe help me close the loop.

Stay tuned.

#Hackapost Allthingstalk LoRa #IoT kit contents

Last tuesday, I unpacked the kit from AllThingsTalk.

Here it is, in all its glory:

LoRa Kit contents

LoRa Kit contents

There is an Arduino-compatible SODAQ Mbili board.


  • Grove sockets: yeah, less soldering and breadboard mess.
  • SD card slot
  • More memory, more CPU power.
  • SODAQ means "Solar Data Acquisition" and that's pretty cool especially since we have got the solar panel and battery in the kit.
  • RTC

In more depth (love that tech pr0n thing):

The SODAQ (Solar Data Acquisition) is an Arduino compatible data acquisition board designed by Gregory Knauff. This is the successor to the SODAQ Moja. It is one of the most rich-featured Arduino Compatible boards in the market (how cool is that!).

The SODAQ is a multi-feature microcontroller board that lets you connect sensors and devices to the internet, quickly and with no fuss. It's designed for connecting things efficiently, running off-grid with built-in, ready-to-go solar power. You can connect a LiPo battery and a solar panel and keep it gathering sensor data without having to charge it.

The board has built in sockets for Grove modules; a realtime clock; extended flash memory; USB on-board; and the Bee socket can take any WiFi/RF/XBee or other compatible plugin for communications instead of the GPRS module (GPRSbee).

The SODAQ Mbili is based on the Atmega1284P microcontroller and comes with an Arduino compatible bootloader. The microcontroller runs on 3.3V at 8MHz and is programmable through USB (Which is connected with the on-board FTDI-chip). Basically, it works with the Arduino IDE once you configure the board.

SODAQ Mbili Specifications:

  • Atmega1284P Microcontroller running at 3.3V and 8MHz
  • Prgrammable using the Arduino IDE
  • Power supply by LiPo battery (3.7V) or USB cable (5V)
  • Solar charge controller with JST connector for Solar Panel up to 2.5W
  • DS3231 Real Time Clock and Temperature sensor, RTC backup powered by LiPo battery
  • 16 MBit data flash module (AT45DB)
  • SD Card holder
  • Mini USB connector
  • 12 Grove connectors connecting Digital, Analog and I2C pins (Switched or always on)
  • On/Off switch. With the switch in Off position the solar charge circuit is still active and the RTC clock is still powered.
  • ICSP programming header
  • JTAG Connector
  • Bee socket for Xbee, GPRSbee or other bee style modules
  • Same size as Raspberry Pi (a tad smaller)

Writings things (actually this setup was wrong)

Basic setup for testing if all works fine

I've been setting up the libs, the Arduino IDE and all other kinds of stuff as mentioned on the docs.

But I ran into trouble. Very fast and awesome support from Jan from AllThingsTalk. But it seems that the issue is not on their side but on Proximus IoT system that has a bug with some devices since an upgrade on friday. Ah, bad, this spoils my week end fun :-(.

Jan told me to send messages every 30 secs, sometimes it works. Ok, done that in my sketch. There is now an IoT beacon transmitting 0's an 1's every 30 secs...

#Hackapost, an #IoT hackathon

LoRa Box

Got a new toy: the LoRa Rapid Development Kit from AllThingsTalk. Got it at the #Hackapost Q&A session as I am going to hack some stuff for that Hackathon that is happening next week. That's in the internet of things space. Interestingly it happens at the same time as the Tech Startup Day, which I intented to go to. Just a switch of perspective. Hackathons participants get an entry ticket as an added bonus. Our entry is the Short Local Supply Chain

Let's see how this is going to unfold along with my overloaded schedule. It is still important to attend such events as there is no better way to get acquainted with new waves of change than to hack around motivated people full of new ideas.

Every single hackathon taught me something new, be it a new piece of tech, a way to look at things, to run a team, to get something done. On top of it, the main takeaway is a couple of new acquaintances that have that magic sauce in them. Also, this gives a clear idea of where the state of play stands. Hackathon organizers are no philantropists and I am not giving my time for free. Financially speaking, hackathons are a net loss for me. But that's one of the best trainings one can get in a lot of ways. It helps me staying sharp. This time, I'll be joining forces with Christophe Verbeiren, of TapTap. Christophe is a long time friend, and a successful entrepreneur. He has the right business/tech mix. I think that we share a lot and if this could lead to a business venture, I'd be really happy to work it out with him. Happiness is now a key factor for me to engage in a new piece of work. That's what keeps one motivated in the long run. And that's closely related to the people. I can't stand assholes anymore I guess. Time to play with the box.